VIVO X21 Unboxing and Quick Review

VIVO X21 Review (Philippines)

The first smartphone to implement a fingerprint sensor on top of its display, the VIVO X21,  has been with us for more than a week already! Stay tuned as we share the vivo X21 Review (Philippines).

It was already revealed in other countries, but locally, it will be made available this June. So, this is technically one of the first blog posts you will see.

We’ve got the black version of the VIVO X21.

VIVO X21 Philippines

This guy has the charm, it is sexy, has the specs to boot, nice to hold in the hands. Everything is kind of beautiful about this device.

But does the in-display fingerprint scanner really works? Is it a real game-changer in today’s smartphone technology? Let’s find out.

The VIVO X21 Specs

Display6.28-inch Super AMOLED display, 2280 x 1080, 402ppi, 19:9 aspect ratio
CPU2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660
GPUAdreno 512
microSD support up to 256GB (uses SIM2 slot)
Rear CameraDual 12 MP (f/1.8, 1/2.5″, 1.4 µm, Dual Pixel PDAF) + 5 MP (f/2.4) rear cameras with LED Flash
Front Camera12MP f/2.0 front camera
Network4G LTE
SIM SlotHybrid Dual SIM (nano), Dual Standby
ConnectivityWiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band
Bluetooth 5.0
FM Radio
SecurityFingerprint Scanner (In-display), Face unlock
OSVivo FunTouch Os 4.0 (Android 8.1 Oreo)
Battery3200 mAh Li-Ion battery, fast-charging
Dimension154.5 x 74.8 x 7.4 mm
ColorBlack, Aurora White, Ruby Red


The packaging looks premium, it deviates from the usual VIVO box. This one has a square retail box which you uncover from the top.

Inside the box are the following items: the X21 unit, a free high-quality plastic case, a micro USB cable, a nicely-made earphone, a wall charger, a SIM ejector tool, and the warranty card & user guide.

Design & Build Quality

This device has a 6.28-inch display. But if you hold it yourself, you’ll think it is just a 5.5-inch device. It has metal frame sandwiched by a glass both front and back.

I said it is nice to hold in the hands because of the curved at back towards the edge. It makes it feel thinner having those curves.

The power button is located on the upper left side together with the one-piece volume rocker. Up to is a 3.5mm audio jack (yes, it has an audio jack, ladies, and gents).

At the bottom part, you’ll find the micro USB 2.0 port, the speaker grille, and the SIM card tray.

Now, because the smartphone is made out of glass, it is very slippery. The chance of accidentally dropping it is high, therefore a casing is very necessary. VIVO knows you need one, so they included a high-quality casing in the package.

The plastic case isn’t so thick and it hugs the X21 so tight making it secure. This is how it looks with the free case installed.

Display & Media

The VIVO X21 with in-display fingerprint scanner has a 6.28-inch Super AMOLED display, 2280 x 1080, 402ppi, 19:9 aspect ratio.

It has a bright and crisp display. By now, we are already used to the notch. It does not bother us anymore like the early days.

The presence of the in-display fingerprint scanner made the display even more beautiful. It enables more viewing real estate.

When taking photos, you can adjust the aspect ratio into 19:9 in order for your images to fit on the entire screen.

Youtube videos recorded on 16:9 aspect ratio can be adjusted by pinching the screen to fit into the 19:9 display of the X21. But take note that you have to enable this feature via the Display Settings menu. (Settings, Display, and Brightness, Third-party display ratio, choose Youtube, and check Fullscreen)

As to the glass protection, the X21 comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 3. Also, there is a pre-installed screen protector for your peace of mind.

VIVO X21 Software, UI & Apps

The X21 runs on Android 8.1 Oreo with the VIVO’s custom UI Funtouch OS 4.0 on top. If you have been a VIVO phone owner previously, you’ll be instantly familiar with the software installed on the X21.

There are still the “unwanted” apps that might annoy you but you’ll get used to it anyway. The storage is no longer an issue since it has a huge built-in storage of 128GB.

No app drawer here, therefore all apps are put on the home screen and can be arranged depending on your style by making a folder.

More stores, more choices?


Because aside from Google’s Play Store where you mandatorily download your favorite apps, VIVO has its own stuff in their V-Appstore.

Have two Facebook accounts?

No problem. VIVO has got your covered with App Clone. You can clone an installed app and you’ll have a duplicate copy. Your “other” account can be logged in there.

You can use the App Clone on the Instagram account as well.

Your basic needs are served in one swipe.

Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and you’ll get lots of shortcuts that will make your life easier. On-screen volume control and brightness adjustment are incorporated. The settings icon on the top left will get you to the detailed settings menu.

For emergency purposes, you can pull up this menu and use the flashlight.

This is where you turn on your mobile data as well, WiFi, airplane mode and more.

Very convenient way to accomplish tasks.

(General) Performance & Benchmarks

Under the hood of this device is a 2.2GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 660, Adreno 512. There’s a 6GB RAM + 128GB ROM.

This configuration provided us with very smooth performance. We can launch multiple apps without hiccups or lags.

X21 Benchmarks
Geekbench 4Single Core1599Multi Core5674
Antutu 7131239140164
PC Mark (Work 2.0)6067
3D MarkOpenGL1233Vulkan1029


Let’s talk about the most-used app in a smartphone, the cameras. The X21 is equipped with a 12MP primary camera with f/1.8 aperture and a 5MP secondary camera with f/2.4 aperture.

The limited test we had provided us fast focus shooting.

The camera app UI is one of the best in the industry. Everything option is available in just one screen. Here’s the UI looks like.

Now here are the sample shots we randomly took.

Front camera shot

Bokeh shot

Broad daylight shot

4K Video Recording

Both the front and rear camera can record 4K video. You can use these settings if you want to produce a high-quality video for events and product unboxing.

Security, In-Display Fingerprint Scanner

In addition to the traditional security features embedded in the smartphone, the X21, being the first device to implement in-display fingerprint scanner, delivered a working feature.

The in-display fingerprint scanner enrolment involves 2-stage recording and you can record five (5) maximum fingerprints.

The Face Unlock feature way better. Based on our actual usage, face unlock is way faster and effective versus the fingerprint scanner.

But unlike the Huawei P20 Pro’ face unlock feature, the X21 needs a 2-step way to unlock the phone. You need to press the power button first to instruct the phone that you want to unlock it.

To add security to this feature, you have to enable Quick Recognition (Face Unlock Settings). This will reduce the possibility of using a photo or video to unlock the phone.

Face unlock is way better, but not too secured.

In our test, it is proven that this is way better versus the fingerprint scanner. It is fast to recognize my face and it has auto-brightness feature when unlocking on dark areas.

The only issue with the face unlock is that it can possibly work with people with a similar face. We don’t have proof about this claim. We also tried to unlock the phone using a picture, but it did not work.

Connectivity, Audio Quality & Battery Life

In the connectivity department, the X21 is equipped with almost everything you need. Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac dual-band, 4G/LTE for high-speed internet, GPS, you name it.

We are happy to report that all these mentioned worked without flawlessly.

Audio quality is also outstanding. The device has bottom-firing speakers. To optimize this kind of setup, it is advisable to hold the device with either two hands or one hand as illustrated in the picture above.

Voice calls are also crystal clear. We haven’t encountered any issues so far.

Battery life is also good. Our test unit was not able to finish the usual battery test by PC Mark but in our casual usage, it gave us more than a whole day of usage.

We did not experience overheating as well.


Here’s VIVO’s showcase that they are also capable of launching a premium device. The X21 is their first showcase in the Philippines.

The in-display fingerprint scanner is a real game changer. While everybody is putting their scanners either at the back or at the chin of their device, here’s VIVO who installed it on top of its display.

Now, was it perfect?

VIVO has to continue to improve this new feature. In our actual usage, most of the time it will work, but there are times that we just want the face unlock feature.

They also need to do something about the notch in the software side. Some apps that are not optimized with the notch has missing parts in it.

What we like the most with the VIVO X21 is the build. It feels so thin thanks to the curved edges.

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Raffy Pedrajita

is Rafael Pedrajita offline. He is the founder of Tech Patrol. He's been a freelancer and a blogger since March of 2010. He married a beautiful woman named Amor. You can follow him on his Social Media accounts in the links below.

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